Notre Dame men's basketball loses key piece to 2023 recruiting class

Tom Noie
South Bend Tribune
Strive for Greatness' Brady Dunlap (3) shoots the ball during the Strive for Greatness and The Skill Factory game at the Peach Jam in Riverview Park Activities Center on Tuesday, July 19, 2022. Strive for Greatness defeated TSF 72-69.

Sports Peach Jam Strive For Greatness And The Skill Factory

And then, there were two. 

Brady Dunlap, one of three high school seniors to sign letters of intent in November to play for the Notre Dame men’s basketball team next season, has asked for a release from that agreement. 

Dunlap’s decision comes four days after Irish head coach Mike Brey announced that this season, his 23rd on the Notre Dame sideline, will be his last. 

More:Another swing and a miss for Notre Dame in this lost ACC men's basketball season

A swingman from Harvard-Westlake (California) High School, Dunlap made public his plans late Tuesday afternoon via On3 Sports. The 6-foot-7, 180-pound swingman from Studio City, California averaged 16.7 points, 3.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists as a junior, when he earned All-CIF first team honors. 

“Due to the announcement of Coach Brey’s retirement, I have requested my release from Notre Dame and will open my recruitment,” Dunlap wrote. “I want to wish Coach Brey and thank (assistant coach) Antoni Wyche for all of his efforts in recruiting me.” 

Dunlap was scheduled to be the first California prospect to play for Notre Dame since former Irish guard Rex Pflueger, who ended his collegiate career in 2019-20 the program leader in games played (141). 

More:At a time when he often pondered his team's basketball future, Mike Brey instead decided his

Dunlap picked Notre Dame over San Diego State in the fall. He also had Colorado, Nebraska, Rice and Providence among his finalists and at one time was a 100 percent projected commitment to Wyoming. 

The Irish also have guards Markus Burton (Mishawaka, Indiana) and Parker Friedrichsen (Tulsa, Oklahoma ready to enroll at Notre Dame come summer. On Saturday, after Notre Dame lost to Boston College in the first game after his I’m leaving presser, Brey talked of what he would tell the Irish recruiting class. 

Bixby’s Parker Friedrichsen (right) drives to the basket around Union’s Trent Pierce during the game at Union's UMAC Center in Tulsa on 2/8/22.

“One of the things that I’ve talked to our younger players about and the three young me that we’ve signed is – don't knee-jerk,” Brey said. “I’ve been in this a long time. Give us a chance.” 

Brey said during Monday’s Atlantic Coast Conference coaches teleconference that he finally had a chance Sunday to speak with the incoming recruits. He reiterated what he told the media Saturday — give the new coach a chance, then make a decision on your future. 

Penn's Markus Burton (3) shoots a free throw in the second quarter against Marian Friday, Jan. 20, 2023, at Penn High School.

Dunlap decided he didn’t want to wait. 

Where this leaves the Irish roster in terms of scholarships available and returning players for 2023-24 is anyone’s guess. Had the current three-man recruiting class remained whole, and everyone with eligibility (including guard Cormac Ryan, who could be back for a sixth year) returned, Notre Dame would have 10 players on scholarship for next season.  The maximum is 13.

Dunlap’s the first to jump. He likely won’t be the last.